College Readiness

Posted on 1800/01/01
A recent $65,000 New Mexico Public Education Department grant has allowed Hobbs High School to employ a Career Readiness/College Bound counselor for the summer. This counselor, Teresa Parks, is located in the high school counseling office. Mrs. Parks has 21 years of experience as a school counselor. Some of the services that are offered to Hobbs High School students this summer are: Career exploration, interest inventory testing, tips for applying for jobs, college searching and scholarship preparation. Summer hours for this free service are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Mrs. Parks at 433-0200 for more information. In the meantime, get on schedule for college by following the tips outlined below:



  • Take a test! An Interest Inventory test can show you what career(s) interest.Interest Inventory test can be found on-line and taken at, or go to to print one out.
  • Research! Use Interest Inventory results to research careers at the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Handbook.This is a great place to start your career research by learning about careers, their outlook and education/training requirements. This will help you when you are ready to select a major and a college.
  • Start a file!(When possible, write papers and do projects over colleges to gain more information) that offer the degree or program you are interested in. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created a useful resource to quickly look up facts about any college on the College Completion website.
  • Take challenging classes!
  • Listen to Announcements!Listen for essay, speech contests, science fairs/contest etc.Many of these offer scholarships and/or awards.
  • Get involved!Scholarship applications have an extra-curricular/activity page.You must be able to show that you are an engaged and motivated person.
  • Volunteer!Scholarships also have a community involvement section.Look around your school, neighborhood, church etc. for opportunities or see you scholarship counselor for other suggestions.
  • Explore careers!Job shadowing is a wonderful way to experience a career interest with little investment.
  • Study hard and do well in school—these first grades are the beginning of your high school permanent record.Grades and grade points do matter!
  • Gain insight!Start to attend events on college campuses (plays, concerts, sporting events, activities related to your major, etc.) Attending these functions will give you insight into a college and college life.
  • Meet your Counselor!Talk to your school counselor about college admissions and financial aid.
  • Have the money talk!Talk to your parents about the expense of college.The following link offers a college cost estimator.
  • Listen to Announcements! Listen for summer enrichment programs/opportunities. These are wonderful accomplishments to put on your scholarship activities page.
  • Start a running list! Make a list of accomplishments, awards, recognitions, activities and community involvement.Continue to add to this list yearly in preparation for resumes and scholarship applications.
  • Know your 4yr plan!Finally, know your school’s and state’s graduation requirements.Many colleges have additional academic requirements above local and state mandated requirements, check admissions requirements of the each college you are interested in.



  • Take the most challenging courses you can this year.
  • Review and Continue with advice from Freshman year!
  • Plan to take the PSAT/NMSQT TEST. You will need to take these tests in the 11th grade in order to qualify for scholarships and programs associated with the National Merit Scholarship Program. Taking these tests now will prepare you when you take the ACT/SAT tests in the future. Good scores are the key to some scholarships.
  • Use the Internet and start looking at colleges through their web sites and think about your reasons for attending college.
  • Start attending college fairs in your area (where the colleges come in and give away information about their schools)
  • Get involved or continue to be involved in extracurricular activities.
  • Volunteer!!!
  • Study hard and do well in school—remember, your grades will count toward college and will show up on your permanent record.
  • Update your record of activities and/or community service projects, including recent accomplishments and awards.
  • Take part in summer enrichment programs and special workshops that focus on a particular subject, such as science or math.
  • Read!Work on your writing skills.Keep up on current affairs.Scholarships committees are looking for well-educated and well-rounded recipients.
  • Research funding for college, including scholarships, grants, loans, etc. Start a file.
  • Reach out to mentors in the fields of interest.
  • Think about what kind of education/training different careers require
  • Continue/start saving for college
  • Make good use of your summer!Work, volunteer or take a summer course on line or at NMJC.




  • Talk to your school counselor. Make sure you are on track to graduate next year. Your guidance counselor should also be able to provide information on how to register for standardized tests and may recommend a different course load.
  • Bonus Points! Earn college credit in high school by taking AP, Dual Credit or Tech-Prep courses.
  • Pay attention to your grades!Your GPA will be important to college admissions as well as scholarships.
  • Test!Take the PSAT/NMSQT
  • Extra, extra! Be involved at school, and community.Look for work, internships in the fields that interest you and or summer enrichment programs.
  • Test again!Take the ACT and/or SAT during the spring semester.
  • Research possible college and request or download information from them.Discuss visiting them with your parents.
  • Take solid elective courses (extra math, science, foreign language, social sciences, computers, etc.)
  • Run for leadership positions in the organization you are involved in
  • Get to know the admission criteria for your top schools and know where you stand in meeting those criteria.
  • Attend events on college campuses (plays, concerts, sporting events, activities related to your major, etc.)
  • Keep meeting with your college/career counselor at least once a year
  • Start or update an academic resume
  • Consider putting together a portfolio that highlights your special skills and talents
  • Keep filling out the college comparison worksheet (PDF; 1 page, 64KB)
  • Check into applying to colleges online
  • Search for scholarship opportunities
  • Continue to do your best in school
  • All Year

    Continue to explore careers and colleges


    Take the PSAT/NMSQT.  You must take the test in 11th grade to qualify for scholarships and programs associated with the National Merit Scholarship Program.


    Register for and take ACT/or SAT exams for college admission.  Remember to register in advance to have time to study the test guidelines.  If you have difficulty paying a registration fee, see your school counselor about getting a fee waiver.

    Search for Scholarships and know the guidelines! Some deadlines fall as early as the summer between 11th and 12th grades, so prepare now to submit applications soon.

    Summer Before 12th Grade.

    Narrow down the list of colleges you are considering attending. If you can, visit the schools that interest you.

    Contact colleges to request information and applications for admission. Ask about financial aid, admission requirements, and deadlines

    Decide whether you are going to apply under a particular college’s early decision or early action program. Be sure to learn about the program deadlines and requirements.

    Use the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator, and compare the results to the actual costs at the colleges to which you will apply. To supplement any aid FAFSA4caster estimates you might receive, be sure to apply for scholarships. Your goal is to minimize the amount of loan funds you borrow.

     Find out what government financial aid you can apply for, and how, in Do You Need Money for College—Federal Student Aid at a Glance.

    Learn how to avoid scholarship scams and identity theft as you look for financial aid and then attend college.



    This is an important time…don’t slack off.  Colleges will look at your records.  Also, be mindful, that colleges may look you up on social media so if you don’t want your grandma seeing or reading it—get rid of it!

    In fall semester:

    • Register for and take (or retake) the SAT and/or ACT, if not already done
    • Complete and submit college applications prior to deadlines
    • Complete and submit scholarship applications prior to deadlines (continue to check with your counselor throughout the year for new scholarship offering.)
    • Line up people to be your references for scholarships
    • Request transcripts and letters of recommendation
    • Register for a Federal Student Aid PIN
    • Check with colleges to make sure they received your information
    • Meet with a counselor to verify that graduation requirements will be met on schedule
    • Sign up for’s a daily scholarship finder!
    • Make a “Favorite” on your desktop!

    Other scholarship links:

    • During the winter months:

      • Work with parents to complete and submit the FAFSA
      • Review and make any necessary changes/corrections to the Student Aid Report
      • Finish submitting scholarship applications

      In spring semester:

      • Visit colleges on their “short list.”
      • Attend a financial aid workshop with your parents
      • Consider college acceptances; compare financial aid packages offered
      • Call college financial aid representatives with questions
      • Decide on the college to attend and contact its offices
      • Get a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from is free!Beware of sites offering services for a fee. (apply for financial aid as soon as possible after Jan. 1)
      • Take AP test (if applicable)
      • Go back for additional campus visit if possible
      • Make a decision—once made, inform the colleges of your choice.Letting the other colleges know will allow them to offer admission to another student.

      After you choose

      • Apply for housing
      • Get familiar with your college and what you will need when you get there. Parking, computer (desktop/laptop)

      Summer before college

      • See an academic advisor at the university or college you will attend, and then register early.
      • Attend a summer orientation program.Also be sure to enroll in a freshman orientation class, even if not required.



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